The latest sibling from Samsung’s growing Galaxy Family of Android phones has just arrived at our door. After being suitably impressed with the Galaxy Ace and not quite as impressed with the Galaxy Mini, we’re wondering where the Galaxy Fit will, er, fit into the line-up.
A mid-range/budget phone through and through, the Galaxy Fit is aimed at buyers who want a taste of the smartphone experience – multiple email accounts, maps/navigation, apps, Angry Birds – but don’t want to have to pay through the nose. But with many phones competing for this crowded mid-range space, just how does the Fit measure up?
What we like
The Samsung Galaxy Fit fits like a glove. It’s perfectly sized and the ridged back cover gives the phone a degree of grip. Build quality is good; the Fit is lightweight but doesn’t feel flimsy or insubstantial. We liked that the micro USB port was also protected by a sliding dust cover.
Despite the size of the screen – 3.31-inches – not touching the dizzying heights of phones with larger 4-inch plus sized screens, we found that this didn’t hamper the usability much at all.
Browsing web pages, flicking through menus, dragging and dropping apps to various homepages felt just as effortless on the Galaxy Fit as it is on the Galaxy S2. The screen also supports pinch to zoom, perfect for zooming in on Google Maps, pictures in the gallery and web pages in the browser.
The 5-megapixel camera is both quick to load and take pictures. There’s a macro mode so its good for both close ups and distance shots and there’s smile detection too, plus ISO settings and a list of lighting modes (day, night, sunset etc). Despite the lack of a physical camera key, taking pictures by tapping the virtual control is pretty easy and thankfully doesn’t result in that many accidental blurry shots.
The browser is basically the stock Android browser; a touch of the menu key brings up a folder from where you can open new windows and jump to old ones, refresh and add bookmarks. It’s not especially flashy, but it’s functional.
As the Galaxy Fit is an Android phone – 2.2 Froyo – you get all of the usual benefits of this. Search, Maps and Gmail come included as standard along with access to the Android Market. Android 2.2 means that the Fit is compatible with the latest official Facebook and Twitter apps as well as TweetDeck for Android.
The YouTube app works as well as can be expected, with the screen auto-rotating to landscape mode ditto Google Maps Navigation, Google’s still-in-beta sat nav service that responds to voice commands.
What we don’t like
Though the size of the screen doesn’t normally hinder us, due to its nippy responsiveness, we found that not having a dedicated search button, alongside the menu, home and back buttons (like on other Android phones) sometimes makes it difficult to search for things online or in the Android Market. Nearly all of Samsung’s Android phones have omitted a search key – the absence felt really noticeable on the Fit for some reason.
The camera not featuring a flash or any kind of light sensor means that the Fit is obviously not ideal for night shots, limiting its useability somewhat. Also, despite the camera being capable of snapping away quickly, we found that the gallery was slow to load pictures.
Google Maps we found only really seemed to work when the GPS is turned on. A no brainer you might think, but we’ve managed to use Maps on other Android phones without GPS. Obviously the results weren’t as fast or accurate without GPS but in a pinch – like when our battery was on its last legs – we could get it to work. Not so well on the Fit it seems.
As we’ve seen on other Samsung Android phones, the Samsung Apps store comes pre-loaded on to the Fit. This is basically a vetted Android Market, cutting out a lot of the spam apps that you do often find. But in doing so, Samsung Apps also provides a very limited selection. It’s slow to load on the Fit, and can’t be fully uninstalled either. We think you’ll spend more time in the Android Market, so this feels more than a little unnecessary.
Lack of support for Adobe Flash Player and AIR means that you won’t be able to make use of TV streaming apps like BBC iPlayer and ITV Player.
The external speaker is a little weedy, we have to admit. In a relatively quiet space you’ll be fine. But it makes showing off the latest funny YouTube clip to friends in a noisy place – like the pub or a train station – a little difficult.
As a mid-range budget phone that does the basics, the Samsung Galaxy Fit does the job admirably. Easy to pick up and easy to get to grips with, it’s perhaps a good option for someone who has not used a touchscreen phone before or doesn’t want or care about the latest and greatest features and functions.
That said, there’s not really much to recommend the Fit over the Samsung Galaxy Ace, which has a better camera, a slightly bigger screen and runs a hair more smoothly in our opinion. This is reflected in the score we’ve given it above.